A submersible polar circle net similar to this is anticipated to be used in a proposed single net fish farm in Gulf waters off the Sarasota/Venice coast. The EPA took testimony on a discharge permit Tuesday at Mote Marine’s Wave Center.

SARASOTA — A special public hearing by Region 4 of the EPA on a proposed fish farm takes place Tuesday.

The EPA’s Region 4 is hosting the meeting on a draft pollutant discharge permit for Kampachi Farms LLC from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Jan. 28, at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium’s WAVE Center, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota.

Kampachi’s Velella Epsilon Project would be anchored in waters of the Gulf of Mexico, about 45 miles west of Venice. A host of state and federal applications are currently under review.

The farm would raise up to 20,000 almaco jack fingerlings over a 12-14 month period in a single-net pen aquaculture system.

The pen would be 20 feet high and 50 feet across, submergeable to avoid storms. A single trawler would service the pen.

Estimates are the fish farm will annually yield roughly 17,000 fish at a weight of 4.4 pounds each.

The fingerlings would be sourced from brood stock located at Mote Aquaculture Research Park and caught in the Gulf near Madeira Beach, according to a draft U.S. EPA environmental assessment.

Several environmental groups have already expressed opposition to the project, concerned that once this project takes hold it could spawn an entire industry that could have negative environmental impacts.


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